Growing up, Taco Night was always a fan favorite at my house. My siblings and I would feel like we won the lottery when we came home from school and saw that family sized taco kit on the kitchen counter. Mom would brown some ground beef in a large pan, add the Ortega or pass the Old El Paso seasoning packet, serve the meat in those hard, bright yellow taco shells, and we would top it with all the fixin’s: shredded cheddar cheese, lettuce, diced tomatoes, onions, olives, taco sauce (there was always that squeeze packet in the kit to fight over), and sour cream. If we were feeling really adventurous, there may be some soft four tortillas offered as well. You know, to get real authentic and all.
Now I have to say, I still love this Americanized version of taco night. My own kids love it and get just as excited when they see that yellow and orange boxed taco kit on our kitchen counter, but let’s be honest, these aren’t real Mexican tacos. As an adult, and lover of all types of food, I have had the opportunity to taste the real deal and even attempted to replicate some real Mexican cuisine in my own kitchen.
If you want to try something a bit more authentic in the taco department, head to The Steer. A few years back, owners Tucker and Erin Curtin traveled to Mexico and sampled some local cuisine and, as usual, brought back some ideas to make the taco selection at the restaurant closer to the real deal.
First, lets start with the tortillas. They are soft, fresh, warmed, and always corn. (As fresh corn tortillas tends to be a bit more delicate, doubling them up seems make them easier to handle). Second, adiós lettuce, sour cream, and olives. For the cheese, expect queso fresco, which is a white crumbly fresh, mild Mexican cheese made from a combination of cow and goat’s milk, much more like feta than cheddar.
It is the meat that is the star of the taco, and I’m not talking hamburger meat. Think marinated and grilled sirloin steak as in the Taco de Carne or char-grilled marinated pork butt with sliced pineapple in the Taco el Pastor. There is also the Taco De Pescado: Mahi Mahi done either ceviche style or grilled and the Taco de Pollo: grilled marinated chicken. If you are feeling a bit more gringo, try the Taco de Frijoles: Cheddar and beans or the Taco de Americano: braised ground pork and beef with beans and cheddar. Vegan? Well, you’re in luck! Back by popular demand this week as a special is the Roasted Beer and Lime Cauliflower Tacos with mango salsa. Each taco plate is served with lime wedges, diced onion, cilantro, queso fresco, and pico de gallo. Please note, those lime wedges are not a garnish, squeeze those babies over your tacos before digging in! You can even add fresh guacamole for a small surcharge.
Of course, no taco experience would be complete without homemade hot sauce on the side. Try the The Steer’s own Pastor and Serrano hot sauces for an added kick to your taco experience. You wont be sorry.